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At the Bakersfield 9/11 Memorial, there is a six and a half ton steel girder. Dusted with rust and packed with chunks of concrete, this piece of metal and rock was part of the twin towers. It fell to the ground that day 15 years ago and now stands as a testament to those we lost and a symbol of our country’s resolve. Back in Washington, the House approved a resolution I introduced honoring the fallen, remembering the victims, and commemorating the 15th anniversary of this solemn day.

In 15 years, our country has gotten stronger and our vision has become clearer. There is evil in the world. There are people who cannot accept the peaceful lives of innocents. America wants peace. We always have and always will because we recognize the terrors of war. But we cannot unilaterally end the war being waged against us.

Unfortunately, the evil of terrorism has deep roots. Despite great efforts and sacrifices from our servicemembers, their families, and our nation as a whole, the fight continues. But when we think back on 9/11, when we see the debris, when we remember the names and faces of those we lost, and when we look up at new towers rising in honor of the fallen, we know that America is strong, our values are worth fighting for, and we will never give in to fear or terror.

Radical Islamic terrorists declared war on us 15 years ago. They continue to persecute that war against us and against other peace-loving people across the world. 9/11 should serve always as a remembrance of our fellow Americans and first responders that tragically lost their lives that day, and also a clarion call that our nation must always remain vigilant in defending ourselves, our families, and our homeland so that this evil never visits our shores again.